Pro Day tracker
Thursday, March 18, 2 p.m.
The times at Florida State were fast today. Cornerback Patrick Robinson ran a 4.38 40 and linebacker Dekoda Watson was also swift, clocking a 4.45. Both marks were an improvement from the times Robinson and Watson ran at the combine. Robinson looked solid in drills and has now opened the door to possibly being drafted during the final selections of the first round.
Surprisingly, Myron Rolle, who ran poorly at the combine, did not work out today and will have to hold a private workout in a few weeks.
In Virginia, nearly a dozen scouts and coaches were on hand to watch defensive lineman Nate Collins, who did not disappoint. He weighed in at 291 pounds, then ran a time of 4.85 in the 40. His vertical jump was a solid 32 inches. Collins transferred that athleticism to his position drills, displaying quickness and explosion in everything coaches asked him to do. The ability to run well at 291 pounds not only enhances Collins' draft grade, but also increases the number of teams interested in acquiring him. Scouts now feel Collins can play either defensive tackle in a conventional system or the end position in a 3-4 alignment.
Thursday, March 18, 11:30 a.m.
Today's workouts will center on the state of Virginia, as both the Cavaliers and Hokies perform for NFL scouts.
One prospect to watch is defensive lineman Nate Collins, who could be a mid-round steal even though the combine snubbed him. Cornerback Chris Cook, who has been moving up draft boards since October, is expected to stand on his combine numbers but participate in position drills.
Virginia Tech also has a few players not invited to Indianapolis who feel they have a score to settle, primarily offensive guard Sergio Render.
Out west, Stanford holds it's pro day, though the word is running back Toby Gerhart is not expected run.
The Oregon Ducks have their second pro day in a week, with running back LeGarrette Blount and safety TJ Ward expected to work out for scouts.
During the mayhem of yesterday's pro day updates, we failed to mention one of the better performances in the nation. Michigan State receiver Blair White shocked scouts by running 40 times around 4.40 seconds. It was much better than the 4.50 White ran at the combine and was far better than anything scouts could have imagined. White ran terrific routes during drills and caught everything thrown to him, which was expected.
Wednesday, March 17, 7:51 p.m.
A long pro-day schedule has finally come to a close and with it comes the mention of some fine performances at Illinois.
Receiver/tight end Jeff Cumberland put on show for scouts. Cumberland, who measured 6-4 and weighed 249, was swift in the 40, running a 4.46. Only one tight end, Dorrin Dickerson of Pittsburgh, was faster at the combine. His marks in the short shuttle (4.39), three cone (6.89) and vertical jump (35.5) were all impressive. Cumberland is known to be a great athlete, but is he a great football player? He totaled 59 receptions over his four-year career with the and the opinion is Cumberland should have been more productive. Still, these measurables should help him land in the late rounds.
Wideout Arrelious Benn ran the 40 in the low-to-mid 4.4 second area, a major improvement from his performance at the combine. Scouts said Benn caught the ball exceptionally well and has moved back in with a group of receivers that will be drafted starting late in round one.
Isiah "Juice" Williams, who has been working with a quarterback coach in the off season, also looked sharp. Williams, working exclusively at quarterback today, displayed a better throwing motion and improved accuracy. Williams had a long day as he threw the ball during wide receiver, tight end, running back and defensive back drills. When the afternoon ended, some estimated Williams had delivered almost 200 passes.
Wednesday, March 17, 4:44 p.m.
Tennessee's top prospects chose not to participate in today's workout as both DT Dan Williams and S Eric Berry stood on their combine numbers. Berry was hoping to participate in some of the drills but slightly sprained his toe early in the day and decided to sit on the sidelines. The injury has not been reported as serious.
Jeff Cottam, the one-time highly rated tight end who struggled with a back injury in the middle of his career, turned a few heads today. Cottam measured 6-foot-6.5 and weighed 262 pounds. His official 40 time of 4.79 seconds was not bad considering most of the times today were slow. Cottam looked sensational catching the ball, making a number of athletic receptions. Originally graded as a free agent prospects, Cottam could now get looks in the late rounds.
At Fresno State, running back Ryan Mathews repeated his 40 times from the combine, running in the 4.45 range. Like at Florida this morning, the field Mathews ran on at Fresno State was soggy from rain.
Mathews' teammate, receiver Seyi Ajirotutu, improved slightly from Indianapolis, running in the low 4.5 seconds area.
Some of the pro-day workouts around the nation, such as Fresno State and Illinois, are still going on.
Wednesday, March 17, 1:30 p.m.
The position drills have been completed at Florida's pro day.
Scouts are walking away from the workout with a better feeling about Tim Tebow than they did two months ago at the Senior Bowl. His accuracy was better and he was completing passes, but receivers found it necessary to reach backwards or bend to the ground to grab his throws. He also under-threw a lot of passes. The general feeling is while Tebow improved he still needs a lot of work on his game.
The pass catchers put on a show today. Aaron Hernandez and David Nelson each displayed sure hands, catching everything thrown their way. Hernandez has cemented himself as one of the top three tight ends in April's draft.
Joe Haden looked good in position drills and displayed tremendous ball skills. His footwork was smooth and very fluid. Haden's 40 time may have been a bit slower than we first reported. A number of scouts have since told us their watches read 4.52 when Haden crossed the line, as opposed to the 4.45 we initially reported.
Finally, Carlos Dunlap also had a noteworthy day. He was timed at 4.66 on the wet field, at least .05 better than his time from Indianapolis. Dunlap looked good in position drills afterwards. This was expected as Dunlap is known as a great athlete. It's his motivation and game day motor, something which can't be measured, that has scouts concerned.
Wednesday, March 17, 12:48 p.m.
Tim Tebow's passing workout is still going on. There is a crowd of approximately 1,000 people on hand cheering his every move. Tebow started slow in the early going then picked up the pace. The consensus is, while he's showing a good amount of accuracy and is completing his passes, he has thus far shown poor arm strength and his passes do not come in the form of tight spirals.
Only two Gators participated in linebacker drills: Brandon Spikes, considered by most a top 45 pick; and Dustin Doe, more than likely a free agent who'll get an invitation to camp. Yet to the naked eye, Doe looked liked the better NFL prospect during drills.
Doe was quicker, showed better footwork and lateral range. Spikes, on the other hand, practiced with an upright stance and seemed mechanical. His official 40 time is likely to be a little faster than we first reported.
Scouts in Gainesville have told us they are likely to take .05 seconds off each time run today because of the field conditions. The grass was still a little damp from rain, and the field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, where the players ran, is not a completely flat surface as they must allow for drainage. When the players ran the second 40 it was moved to a different area of the field to allow for better traction.
Wednesday, March 17, 11:39 a.m.
Florida cornerback Joe Haden, a top 10 prospect, ran significantly better today, timing right around 4.45 seconds on both of his 40s. This will help restore his draft grade after running poorly at the combine.
Tight end Aaron Hernandez was quick again and timed just under 4.60 on his second 40. Earlier in the day, Hernandez surprised scouts by completing 30 reps on the bench press -- a terrific number for a tight end known more for receiving than blocking.
Receiver David Nelson has been a pleasant surprise thus far. The tall wideout touched 38 inches on the vertical jump, 10-feet, 4.5-inches in the broad and ran well in the 40, with a best time that read just under 4.5 on a number of watches. Nelson was the forgotten man on a Gators team rich with skill players, but scouts feel he has the skills necessary to make a squad as a fifth receiver. They rave about Nelson's downfield blocking. Today's workout numbers could push him into the late rounds.
Wednesday, March 17, 11:20 a.m.
The Gators participating in today's pro day have already completed their jumps and bench press. They are presently running the 40 and the early indications are not good for Brandon Spikes. Few stop watches had Spikes 40 time under 5.0 seconds, with most reading between 5.02-to-5.08.
Tight end Aaron Hernandez, who did not workout at the combine because of a back injury, had an unofficial 40 time of 4.64.
Wednesday, March 17, 10:50 a.m.
The celebration of St Patrick's Day takes a back seat to today's pro-day workouts for NFL scouts. The headliner takes place in Gainesville, where Tim Tebow and other Gators prospects are working out, but critical pro-day events are also scheduled for Illinois, Tennessee and Fresno State.
While most in Gainesville will focus on Tebow, Florida's pro day is also important for cornerback Joe Haden and linebacker Brandon Spikes. Haden must improve on his poor 40 time from the combine to have any chance of being picked in the draft's top 10 selections.
Spikes, who chose not to run in Indianapolis, must post a good 40 time or he will fall into the middle of round two. Scouts have questioned his foot speed all season long and recent word in the scouting community is Spikes has not been diligent about his workouts during the offseason.
The field where the workout will take place is wet from rain, so both players will be at a disadvantage.
Two Gator defenders who won't be working out are defensive end Jermaine Cunningham and linebacker Ryan Stamper. Cunningham is still recovering from a torn labrum while Stamper recently injured his back. Both are scheduled to work out in early April.
In Illinois, another highly considered player won't be taking the field. Jon Asamoah, rated by most teams as one of the top five guards available in April's draft, suffered a hairline fracture of his shoulder blade during Senior Bowl practices in January. He did not work out at the combine and will bypass today's pro day. Asamoah has already scheduled April 8 as the day he will workout privately for NFL scouts.
Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews turned in a terrific workout at the combine but hopes to improve this morning during the Bulldogs pro day. We were told Tuesday night that the highly rated ball carrier will run the 40 and take part in most of today's workout.
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